So is there some kind of Metro etiquette I am not aware of? I know I err on the side of people feeling good about themselves, rather than being comfortable, but what if one’s comfort comes from feeling good about oneself?
Case in point: I get on the train today, and there’s a guy with an empty seat next to him that’s about as wide as me (read: we’re both wide). It’s a straight shot of about 10-12 stations to my office, though, so I decided to take the seat. As we zipped along, the seats around us started emptying out. At one point, the seat right in front of us became empty. I stayed put, thinking I only had a few more stops, so what’s the hurry? I am always sensitive to moving away from someone, as if they have the plague or are too big or smelly or something. Don’t move = don’t make someone feel self-conscious.
Then, this woman who was sitting catty-corner to us (mind you, she was in the handicapped seats and other than suffering from an obvious case of crab-itis, she had no ailments), barked at me “aren’t you going to move?” I did the whole “you lookin’ at me?” bob of my head, until I realized that yes, she was looking at and barking at me. The guy next to me hadn’t moved an inch this whole time. He was no help at all. A whole seat full of No Opinion.
I didn’t say anything. Nor did I move. The woman glared at me and rolled her eyes a painful number of times. Finally, the man next to me seemed to spring to life, but only to clear his throat as if he were going to speak, and then didn’t. He did this, loudly, three or four times. What was he saying there?
It was just weird. And uncomfortable. I could turn it into this whole P/C thing too, because I and The Barker were two of very few Caucasian people on that car of the train. Why would I move? Because we filled the seat? Because my neighbor was African American? Or is there some unspoken rule that one is always supposed to scurry into a Seat For One on the train. Can’t we just all sit together and get along?
We are the ones who make a better day, just you and me!
Bob Marley, Get Up, Stand Up